Capitalism in space: A new smallsat rocket company, EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, has announced that it will do a test launch out of Spaceport America on May 5, the anniversary of Alan Shepard’s first suborbital flight, of a rocket it dubs SARGE.
The press release did not specifically say whether the test launch would be suborbital or not, though I strongly suspect so. Nor can I find any details about this rocket or the launch at the company’s website. The company sells itself as building reusable rockets, and the press release includes a video of a hover static fire test of one rocket. Other videos at the company’s website show short clips of other flights were an earlier rocket returned to Earth by parachute. They state that SARGE is an upgrade, so maybe they are going to use its engines to slow the landing.
Either way, the smallsat launch industry is getting very crowded. This company seems right now aimed at capturing the suborbital science and school portion of the market that is looking for cheap quick ways to get payloads up into space for very short periods at very low cost.